October 7th: Long Island Closure Anniversary Action! Join Us!

14289966_513102792229665_7613763289579713288_oPlease join us on Friday, October 7th, to acknowledge the ongoing harm and hardship caused by the closure of Long Island on the lives of those individuals who were impacted AND demand swift action from the city of Boston and the state of Massachusetts.

9:00AM Rally & Speak Out at Recovery Road at the corner of Melnea Cass Blvd. & Mass Ave.

Food will be provided during this rally, followed by:

12:00PM Rally & Speak Out at the State House steps

The days speakers include:
People who are currently experiencing or have experienced homelessness or are in or seeking recovery services and have been negatively impacted by the closure of Long Island; Dr. Jessie Gaeta of Boston Healthcare for the Homeless, representatives from Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants, Boston Homeless Solidarity Committee, ACT UP, Long Island Refugees, and more.

Following speakers we invite folks to take part in a family-friendly, nonviolent action to impress upon Governor Baker and Secretary Sudders the need for MORE treatment beds and harm reduction services NOW!

Demands:
-Housing NOT Warehousing!

-Increase Treatment Beds NOW!

-Increase Harm Reduction Services NOW!

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Hey Harvard! Pay Up! The Homeless Need Housing!

3rftwYWT_400x400Having recently raised $7 BILLION, Harvard University’s endowment is now approaching $40 BILLION! That’s a lot of excess moola for a non profit organization to have on hand (is Harvard a school or a hedge fund?). Despite Harvard’s mind blowing wealth, it has not payed $2.6 million that it owes to Boston through the city’s Payment In Lieu Of Taxes, or PILOT program.

Boston set PILOT up in 2012. It asks the city’s numerous tax exempt, land owning hospitals and colleges (the Meds and Eds), as well as its arts institutions, to voluntarily contribute to pay for city services that they would get tax free. This year, of 19 Eds the city asked to pony up for PILOT, 14 paid far less than the city requested. This despite the fact that, unlike taxable city properties, PILOT program members need only contribute a fraction of the value of their extensive holdings. But cheapskate Harvard and those 14 other schools won’t even do that!

City Council Letter complete.jpgBoston’s colleges and their multitudes of off campus students have contributed to the city’s homelessness problems for decades: the poorest Bostonians have had to compete with them for affordable housing. Last Spring, nine Boston City Councilors strongly endorsed our coalition groups proposal for a $5 million city funded housing voucher program to house 400 homeless Bostonians (at left). In June, we met with Mayor Walsh on the plan. His concern? The city lacks the money. Yet, If Megabucks Harvard paid the $2.6 million it owes this year to the PILOT program that revenue could fund half of the housing voucher program! That is housing for 200 homeless! If all the college scofflaws ponied up the $12 million they owe this year, plus the million still owed by the city’s medical and arts institutions, that could fund vouchers for about a THOUSAND of the city’s homeless!

Boston needs the PILOT program revenue! Its homeless desperately need housing!

Contact the Mayor and ask him to implement the voucher program! Contact Harvard to tell them it’s time to pay up! 

City funded housing vouchers? It’s time Boston.

voucher hearingA city funded housing voucher program to help end homelessness? Well, they created one in Washington DC. Waltham is even starting its own program to help alleviate the city’s homeless and housing crisis.

For over a year now, Boston Homeless Solidarity Committee, ACT UP/Boston, Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants, Save Our Section 8 and other groups have been pressuring the City of Boston to take care of their own and create and fund just this sort of program.

There are advantages to a city funded voucher program. Boston would be able to set up its own criteria for who qualifies. The city can also make some vouchers transitional so those who are not seriously mentally ill, sick or disabled, but are homeless due to being unemployed, for example, can use it to get a temporary leg up. They then could have the voucher passed on to someone else in need. The city can also create a higher rent payment ceiling than HUD to better meet Boston’s high rents. Landlords throughout the city would also benefit (not that they are hurting of course).

Sadly, Boston has seemed more interested in warehousing the homeless in shelters than funding less costly, permanent solutions that actually save money and stabilize and save lives. If the city can afford tax breaks and a helipad for GE, or extreme overtime costs for the BPD, why not fund a program for its own struggling homeless residents? Join us at City Hall Monday to put the pressure on the City of Boston. Also, call the Mayor AND call your local and at large City Councilors now at 617.635.3040 and demand action!

 

The Longest Night: Speak Out, Holiday “Carols”, Candlelight Vigil for The Homeless, Monday, Dec 21st.

 

2816640582_77124490a2For many the winter solstice is a welcome sign of holiday celebrations to come. But for the homeless, it means 14 hours, 53 minutes, and 43 seconds of darkness — the longest night of the year and a reminder of the long, cold Winter yet to come.

There are over 7,000 homeless people in the Boston area who will have to endure another Winter. Join the Housing Justice Coalition in our efforts to change all that while we remember those who livigilve and often die on our streets. Come to Boston City Hall Plaza on Monday, December 21, at 4:15 pm for a speak out and candlelight vigil for those without a home for the holidays. We will also be singing some special holiday carols to convey to the City of Boston our demands for housing for the homeless NOW! 

 

Monday, Dec 21st: Annual Interfaith Homeless Memorial Service

12339419_874385305993256_4278249203148832259_oJoin BHSC, faith leaders, the homeless, outreach workers, service providers and community leaders for the 26th Annual Interfaith Homeless Memorial Service.

Dec, 21st at Noon
Church on the Hill
140 Bowdoin St, Boston

There will be a luncheon following at 1:00 PM. Afterward, join BHSC for lobbying at City Hall, followed by a Speak Out and Candlelight Vigil for the Homeless on City Hall Plaza at 4:15.

Gown to Town: Drop Dead! Wednesday March/Rally Over Death of the Fenway.

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RIP Boston Neighborhoods

For decades, the institutional expansion of Boston’s colleges and hospitals has greatly decreased the city’s available housing making it that much more expensive for residents to find an affordable place to live. The end result? Displacement and often homelessness! Here is a recent and reprehensible example.

They Did WHAT?!

In the Summer of 2014, Berklee College of Music and the Christian Science Church made a secret deal to create de facto, and arguably illegal, dorms in church owned apartments on Clearway St. With just a months notice they displaced 100 longtime Bostonians from their reasonably priced, two-bedroom apartments to make room for Berklee students.

Needless to say this has angered a lot of residents in the Fenway and throughout the city. Join us Wednesday, to ensure that the Clearway St. units be again made available to city residents, not student interlopers, AND that other institutions don’t try and do the same in YOUR neighborhood. Come march with the Fenway community, residents from all over Boston, and members of the Boston Homeless Solidarity Committee to protest resident displacement & the death of community at the hands of the mighty and powerful! Do so before there is no Boston left to save.

DEC 2ND, 12PM
MEET MASS AVE @ CLEARWAY ST (200 MASS AVE)

 

 

BHSC 24-Hour Fast in Solidarity with People Experiencing Homelessness

12240330_421721328034479_1937469276915461276_oStarting 12 noon Thanksgiving Eve til noon Thanksgiving Day, BHSC members and our allies will be fasting in solidarity with people experiencing homelessness. Join us in our protest as we demand that the city improve and increase services including safe, sanitary and dignified shelter, and a city-funded housing voucher program. Find out more here.

Media Release: Bridge Closure One Year Anniversary Day of Action & Observance

Press release

Oct 8th: Long Island Bridge Closure Anniversary – Day of ACTION and OBSERVANCE

Oct 8thWe are coming up on a year since Mayor Walsh and the Boston Public Health Commission condemned the bridge leading to Long Island, hastily shuttering the city’s largest homeless shelter and several vital stabilization and recovery programs for those seeking treatment for addiction. Since then, little has been done in the way of meaningful action from the city of Boston to remedy the harm they caused in closing the Island in such a haphazard manor. A new men ‘s shelter was erected on Southampton Street, but still does not meet the demand. Woods Mullen has been transitioned into a female-only shelter, and also does not meet the demand for beds and it’s conditions are less than adequate. We are in the midst of an opioid epidemic, which has been deemed a State of Emergency in MA since March of 2014, yet the City of Boston and State of MA haven’t replaced vital treatment programs that had been sited on the Island.

Please join us on Thursday October 8th (Facebook Event) to acknowledge the harm and hardship caused by the closure of Long Island, the lives of those individuals who were impacted and demand action from the city and state.

9:30AM Rally & Speak Out at City Hall

Demands:
Housing NOT Warehousing!
-Affirm that all people have a right to housing and a right to the city
-Increase subsidized permanent housing & rental vouchers including a city funded voucher program

Treat People Experiencing Homelessness with Dignity & Respect
-Increase shelter beds now!
-End criminalization of homelessness in public spaces and shelters
-Fully upgrade all shelter & recovery programs
-Ensure a dignified process for entry & welcoming shelter guests
-Provide adequate & equal access to women who are homeless
-Overhaul shelter disciplinary process with transparency & uniformity to ensure people’s rights
-Guarantee resident’s right to organize and assert their rights without punishment or retaliation
-Provide a clear & open line of communication with the City of Boston Homeless Services

Restore Lost & Increase Treatment Beds NOW!
-Stabilization and recovery beds are needed to address the opioid crisis and provide folks seeking treatment with meaningful solutions on demand. Whether on Long Island, or elsewhere treatment beds are needed NOW!

11:00AM Observance at Church on the Hill Sanctuary
(This location is accessible for folks with mobility impairments, including those who use wheelchairs. We are currently working to make this event accessible for all.)

-Program includes a key note address by Dr. Peniel Joseph; American historian, founding director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at Tufts University, founder of the “Black Power Studies” subfield of American History and American Civil Rights History and Tufts Professor.

12:00PM Rally & Speak Out at the State House

Demands:
-1,047 individuals lost their lives to unintentional opioid-related overdoses in 2014. With vital treatment beds and programs lost, this number is not decreasing.
Treatment beds NOW!

We will be marching from one location to the next:  join us at any point! Church on the Hill is BHSC will be hosting a community lunch to follow our final stop.

Joint Committee on Housing Public Hearing July 28: Please Attend

From our friends at Homes For Families on an event at the State House this week:

On Tuesday, July 28th the Joint Committee on Housing, led by Chairwoman Senator Linda Dorcena Forry and Chairman Representative Kevin Honan will be hosting a public hearing on bills relative to housing and homelessness. HFF staff will be providing testimony at this hearing, and we encourage you to consider doing the same.

If you are not interested in providing testimony, still consider attending. Your presence says that you care about these issues. If you want to be heard but are unable to attend, you may consider providing written testimony. Again, we are happy to support you in your efforts.

Please see the chart below for a list of the bills that will be discussed:

Housing Hearing

Joint Committee on Housing Public Hearing: July 28 | Homes for Families: Opening Doors.

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